Blackberry PlayBook Early Reviews – Not Sounding So ‘Way Ahead’ Now

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PlayBook

Early reviews of the Blackberry Playbook are coming out this week from some A-List technology writers, just days before the tablet’s release on April 19. To say the reviews are not living up to RIM’s big talk about their tablet would be a major understatement. 

Radio Shack’s promo for the PlayBook (shown above) touts it as the ‘First Professional Grade Tablet’ – with ‘uncompromised mobile browsing’.

Here’s a slice of Wired’s review on that uncompromised browsing:

During a round of Plants vs. Zombies, gameplay bogged down whenever the animation got intense. Every time I tried to access a Flash game on Facebook, the browser crashed. Yes, every single time. …  RIM’s WebKit-based browser is about as stable as your bipolar uncle.

And despite supposedly being the fist professional grade tablet, the PlayBook comes with no native email, contacts, or calendar apps. You have to use a ‘bridge’ feature to a Blackberry smartphone to have access to those sort of capabilities. And that’s not going too well either according to David Pogue at The New York Times:

You should also know that even now, only days before the PlayBook goes on sale April 19, the software is buggy and still undergoing feverish daily revision. And the all-important BlackBerry Bridge feature is still in beta testing. It’s missing important features, like the ability to view e-mail file attachments or click a link in an e-mail.

Pogue’s quick comparison of iPad and PlayBook isn’t pleasant reading for folks at Blackberry:

Remember, the primary competition is an iPad — the same price, but much thinner, much bigger screen and a library of 300,000 apps. In that light, does it make sense to buy a fledgling tablet with no built-in e-mail or calendar, no cellular connection, no videochat, Skype, no Notes app, no GPS app, no videochat, no Pandora radio and no Angry Birds?

This is the tablet that RIM’s Co-CEO Jim Balsillie said was way ahead in appeal to CIOs and was setting the bar on performance:

"I think there’s going to be a rapid desire for high performance. And I think we’re way ahead on that," Balsillie continued during Thursday’s earnings call. "And I think CIO friendliness, we’re way ahead on that."

"I think the PlayBook clearly sets the bar WAY higher on performance, and you’re going to see more," said Balsillie.

He said that months before the PlayBook was even due to be released, which is somewhere well north of cocky when the iPad had been on the market, and winning over enterprise customers for many months already.

How CIO friendly – or friendly to any potential buyer – is a tablet with no email app? No calendar app, no contacts app? How many CIOs are going to like being forced to have a Blackberry smartphone partner for every PlayBook to be able to use those apps?

Apple used a ton of superlatives when announcing the original iPad – but so far the iPad has more than walked the walk to back the talk. RIM started talking the talk way before they had a device on the market, and now that it’s finally about to be released it already looks like it’s not going to back up their bold talk at all.

Review excerpts via: 9to5Mac


Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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2 thoughts on “Blackberry PlayBook Early Reviews – Not Sounding So ‘Way Ahead’ Now”

  1. I honestly expected more. The Playbook seems even more half-baked than I thought it would be. Virtually no apps. The Android apps they promised weren’t there for launch. Then, not only does it not have email, but the Blackberry Bridge feature that provides it is still in beta. If you’re not a total Blackberry fanboy, then this is a total piece of trash.

    As a mobile tech geek, I couldn’t be more disinterested in the Playbook. I am iOS all the way, but I would love to get my hands on a used Galaxy Tab, rooted Nook Color, or even a WebOS TouchPad at some point, just to play around with. I wouldn’t touch a Playbook, or any Blackberry for that matter, with a 10 foot pole at this point. They have become like Palm before WebOS- a backward company mired in backward thinking. WebOS came too late to save Palm. It looks like the same fate may await Blackberry. If so, then good riddance.

  2. Look – Having used one – I was extremely impressed by the speed, the screen, the form factor etc. The device is definitely great. BUT, not having an email client?! Saying you can do flash but failing on every attempt? Not at all a smart way to release a product.

    Xoom = Playbook = half-baked and not read for market.

    If you’re already playing catch up to the market, where’s the sense in releasing if you aren’t ready? At this point in the game if you’re going to release something and you’re already behind, make sure its DONE. Otherwise you’re not going to gain any marketshare. The more time that passes the more people are looking at the flaws and wondering why when you had all this time ‘x’ isn’t working.

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